Princess Diana's 'Fairy Tale' Gown Sells for $167K

Photo: Getty ImagesSold! Proving that the world still can't get enough of Princess Diana more than 16 years after her death, a museum just dropped $167,000 to acquire a dress worn by the late royal.

The frothy gold-and-white gown,  which has been dubbed the Princess Diana "fairy tale" dress, was (conservatively) estimated to sell for between $80,000 and $130,000 at auctioneer Kerry Taylor's biannual Passion for Fashion auction in London on Tuesday. But considering that a midnight-blue velvet Victor Edelstein dress that Diana wore when she famously danced with John Travolta at a 1985 state dinner sold in March for $362,400 to a British man who bought it to “cheer up his wife,” the fairy tale dress's sale price isn’t that shocking.

The museum that purchased the gown hasn't yet been identified, but it is reportedly not in Great Britain.

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Made of white tulle and satin and embellished with a dazzle of gold sequins, rhinestones, and pearl beads, the dress comes with a few awesomely '80s accessories, including matching puffy headband and detachable arm bands. The ensemble was made by then husband-and-wife design duo David and Elizabeth Emanuel (who also created her iconic wedding gown), and Elizabeth Emanuel herself admitted to the auction house that the lavish dress is “the kind of thing you either love or hate.”

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Photo: AP Photo Clearly, Diana fell in the love-it category. After first spotting it on the runway of a Red Cross charity fashion show in 1986, she didn’t even bother to commission her own version of the gown, instead buying the design sample right then and there, straight off the runway. She wore it to three red carpet events, including two in the same month, unheard of for Diana, who was not the dress-recycling type. She donned the dress twice in July of that year – for an embassy banquet and a Bolshoi Ballet performance – and then again in 1987, for the premiere of the James Bond film "The Living Daylights."

Despite wearing it three times in a year, Diana, ever the fashionista, managed to change the look up with each wear — sporting it with and without the outré accents, adding in a tiara here, throwing in some elbow-length gloves there. And she managed to look incredible each and every time — a now-bittersweet reminder of that once-in-a-lifetime magic of the People's Princess, who still holds the world in her thrall after all these years.


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